Dear PoPville – Should I Add a Parking Pad to my Yard? How Much Value Will it Add?

“Dear PoPville,

My wife and I are contemplating adding a parking spot to our place. At present we have a small side yard that is about 60 feet long and 25 feet wide. We will lose about half the yard if we put in parking. Right now street parking is fairly easy. My questions are 1. How much does parking add to resale value and 2. How much does it add in monthly rental value? We are 10 minute walk to the metro.”

I think it would depend on how much you use the yard. If you don’t use the yard at all I would def. add one. What do you guys think? How much value do you think it would add to the house?

53 Comment

  • If parking isn’t a problem, why would you bother? You can always add one later, if parking does become a problem.

    If you want to add value now, spend a little money on a flower garden.

  • Adding a parking pad will cost a little more money due to the impervious surface charge on your water bill. Also, pretty sure you still need approval from DCRA for a parking pad.

    • pablo .raw

      +1 or the O.P. could use a permeable surface

      • You may add a permeable paver surface, and the City may help cover some of your costs. See the riversmart homes program.

    • Not if you use a gravel “pad.”

      That’s probably the best choice because asphalt/cement is such an eyesore. When done tastefully, this can add both character and utility to the yard. Plus, it’s more easily removed if the space isn’t renting or you have a change of heart.

    • DCRA=headache and makes you wish you didn’t pay taxes to fund this inefficient branch

      • I really can’t believe that people actually consider even the possibility of getting a permit for things like this. If I was adding two stories to my house, sure, but for things like this, just install and pretend like it was always there.

  • Does 25 feet wide fit 2 cars? That might be worth it. You could also use gravel instead of pouring a concrete pad. It’s much cheaper and a bit more environmentally sound.

    • gravel is murder on cars, apparently. a friend opted for gravel and promptly told me not to use it for my spot when I renovated.

      • Really? How fast is your friend parking? Gravel shouldn’t be a problem under most normal circumstances. If you’re still worried, there are a lot of permeable paving options out there… the grid systems that include gravel and grass look good and work well.

    • Unpaved brick is considered a pervious surface and won’t incur the charges last time I looked into it.

      Also you can do the concrete wheel strips with grass in between like the did in the 50’s.

    • I have a gravel pad. Its fine IF you have 4 wheel drive-otherwise the car gets stuck or spins out throwing gravel everywhere.

  • An average car is what – 15 feet long? That’s not half of 60. 25 wide = 2 cars easy. A rental space -depending on where you are (check Craigslist) is at least $100.00 a month. Garden = we grow more than 3 can eat in similar yard with 2 parking spaces and 3 small raised growing beds.

  • i do not think it will add value at all.
    some people will value a parking spot. some people will value the grass, or garden space. either way some will like it, some won’t.

    when you go to sell it, describe the property as having the potential for a parking space, but let buyers deal with it.

  • Be sure to check with the zoning folks before spending any money on your plans. A few years ago I was having a friendly little chat (more like a profanity-laced argument) with a DC historic preservation staffer about my windows and he mentioned that someone in my neighborhood was using his side yard for parking. Apparently that’s not allowed in some neighborhoods. Might be more of a historic district thing than a zoning thing — I don’t have a side yard so I never bothered to look it up.

    • If it’s a side yard instead of a back yard, you can’t do it – it’s public property. Check out the DC “Public Parking” law – your front yard and your side yard are not your own. It would take some pretty good arguments to get DCRA to give an exemption for a parking space on public green space.

      • That all yards are public property in D.C. is a common, and oft repeated, misconception. It depends on your plot, while in much of D.C. (mostly historic areas and those adjacent to them, not necessarily designated historic districts) do indeed have houses where the yard is city property, this is certainly not always the case. My home for instance, does not have this feature. You should have a received a survey when you purchased your home, this will show where they public/private line really lies. You can also go and search the land records yourself. By the way, if you are paying full property taxes, and all of your lot other than the structure is city owned, you can petition for a reduction. What you have is an easement for private enjoyment over public land, and you should be paying less in the way of taxes.

    • Also, if you do make sure that is actually your land by getting a plat at DCRA. I live on the corner and there is a stretch of land the length of my house and it is not part of my property – though it won’t ever be developed – even though it looks like it should be.

  • alley access or will you need a curbcut?

  • I’m desinging basement garages for office buildings in DC right now. Our spaces are 9’x19′ for each car. You can make something much smaller for a residential lot. Also go measure a neigbhor’s driveway or pad to get an idea of what you may want.

    And I’d say that parking can add maybe $50 a month to the rental price. Maybe a lot more if you’re in a place where it’s hard to find street parking.

    Also concur with using permeable pavers, or pavers that are open in the middle (like a hollow diamond). Think about just paving the parts where your tire tracks will drive on. Or think about using it as a multi-purpose area. Maybe there’s a basketball hoop, or a place for a grill, or a garden shed at the end of it, etc. If you can sell it as more than just a parking pad you increase the value of your house much more.

    • Are you working in EV charging too? Would that require a permit?

      I have a private slab that sometimes I dream of jackhammering, I’d like to offer up a public space for an fast EV charging station, I wonder if that’s possible.

  • Of course the value of parking will vary depending on circumstances. How scarce is street parking, do you need a car…When we were looking at condos and row houses in U St and Col Hts two years ago, condo parking spots were selling for $25 to $35K and there was certainly a premium for row houses w/ off-street parking. I wouldn’t add just for the possible increased sale price – but I may for the increased convenience.

  • Dont listen to these hippies who are talking about people valuing 60’x25′ of green space more than 30’x25′ of green space + parking. Its just not true.

    At 30’x25’your yard will be bigger than most peoples’ yards that dont have parking. With a 30×25′ parking pad, you can probably fit 2-3 cars.

    This is without a doubt a massive addition to the house that will maintain its value.

  • blester01

    Our realtor gave us an estimate of a $10k increase in the value of our home by adding a parking spot in our lot. But you have to take into consideration that our lot is one of the large ones in the area (20×100) so it would not have eaten up that much space from our yard.

    I also recommend using an pervious surface. You can use gravel with pavers where the tires will sit, or use the permeable concrete pavers which are more expensive. Regardless, don’t be cheap and increase your storm water footprint and contribute to the Chesapeake Bay environmental issue.

  • We put in a parking pad with brick pavers – looks great. I think our width is about 16-18 feet and we fit two cars (civic and impreza) with about 4-6 feet to spare. Make sure to grade it away from your house for drainage.

  • If you’re thinking about selling, I’d say you should add the parking pad, if for no other reason than to drive buyer interest. Some folks simply won’t look at anything without parking. Same thing if you’re going to rent it out: I’d say the ability to advertise off-street parking is a great way to raise your rent-rate by at least 100/mo.

    But, if you’re just planning to stay put and are content with your current parking situation, as someone else said, why incur the expense now? Also … have you thought about adding a full-on garage off the alley? That’s parking + storage if you loft it right, and those structures can be pretty simple builds.

    Best Captcha ever??? I’d say so … “VD4U”

    • BTW, I have to say that there’s no ready answer to your question about how much you’d make additionally on sale or rent. It’s just a matter of how many additional people who would be interested as a result of the parking’s availability. As a landlord, it will yield better rents and/or a greater selection of tenants from which to choose — I frequently show my rental apartment to tenants who are great and seem like perfect fits UNTIL they realize it’s only street-parking.

    • Adding a full garage is an easy build? In DC?

      We would love to add a garage and have the space to do it, but it seems to be an expensive and permitting nightmare.

      • Not what I was getting at. I’m sure the permitting would be a nightmare, as is anything that has to come in contact with DC govt bureaucracies. But the structure itself would not be complicated, assuming a standard rectangular building.

  • You probably already have 80% of the value you would get for having a parking space by having a yard that is large enough for it. Do you have access to the alley already? I think as long as it would be possible to pull in to your yard if needed that would be enough to suggest parking potential without actually having to alter anything. I wouldn’t actually change anything unless you need more parking yourself.

  • If street parking in the area isn’t remotely competitive, I don’t see that a parking space would make much of a difference.

    If there are certain times when street parking _is_ competitive, however, then I think it would make a difference.

  • What neighborhood is it in? I think commentors could benefit from knowing this.

  • Also, make sure the alley access you have is actually public space. I have some friends in Col Heights who have been told they can’t guarantee access to the back of their yard, it looks like an alley but isn’t City-owned.

  • If you do decide to add parking, I would like to second those suggesting the use of a pervious surface. Not only is this environmentally friendly, but you can receive a rebate for the materials from the RiverSmart Homes program ( They’ll reimburse you for materials used for rain gardens, rain barrels, pavers, etc. You also have plenty of space to make a parking area attractive by bordering it with a garden and only putting down pavers for the wheels (as opposed to an entire pad). That would be a cost effective way to add value.

    • blester01

      I don’t think this project will qualify for the rebate b/c they would be disturbing existing permeable soil. If this was an existing impervious surface and they wanted to change it to permeable, then yes it would qualify.

      The goal of the rebate program is to reduce the amount of impermeable surfaces to reduce the amount of storm water entering the sewers and eventually the bay.

  • If parking is not a problem, then bigger yard has more value. I’d LOVE to have a yard.

    • I meant to add: put the money toward nice landscaping. A nice little urban oasis has way more appeal when I’m looking at a house–it’s an extension of living space

    • Please come take care of mine!

  • I would add a simple crushed stone or permeable paver driveway. Just two tracks for the wheels of each car.

    Google “ribbon driveway” to see what I’m talking about. Shouldn’t cost much at all

  • Thanks for all the great advice. The real cost here will be excavation – yard is elevated – and rebuilding a retaining wall. We would love to have the convenience of a spot and the protection that it carries from cars being battered on the street.

    We don’t use the yard all that much but we could do a much better job of making it a desirable outdoor space.

  • Parking, without a doubt. You have a huge yard, you’ll still have plenty of space. I don’t know anyone who would trade their off-street parking for more yard. Off-street parking feels safer and more convenient. Plus, if the population increases the way it has, parking will become harder to come by.

    • I don’t have offstreet parking, but have a “huge” backyard, 100 feet deep. I prefer the huge backyard for my dog to run in.

  • A parking pad would considerably decrease the value for me. Invest in a cool, chill outdoor space instead.

  • I live in Park View/Pls Plains and rent my space to ZipCar for $125 a month. The space is assessed by the city at $19,000.

  • They paved paradise / And put up a parking lot.
    bop 🙁 bop 🙁 bop 🙁

  • Everyone saying not to bother because the street parking is plentiful is forgetting about all of he out of state folks who rent in dc. Many of them don’t want to register their cars in dc and seek offstreet parking for that reason. Worth keeping in mind. More valuable still if you were in or near Capitol hill where folks really don’t want to register dc.

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